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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Stock Market Today: S&P 500 ends higher as Fed speak pushback fails to cool rally

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Stock Market Today: S&P 500 ends higher as Fed speak pushback fails to cool rally © Reuters.

Investing.com — The S&P 500 closed higher Monday, shrugging off attempts from Federal Reserve officials to cool expectations for sooner rather than later rate cuts. 

By 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT), the was flat, the climbed 0.61%, and the  the index rose 0.5%.

The gains in the S&P 500 on Monday took it to within 1.2% of its record closing high of 4,796.56 seen in January 2022.   

Market sidesteps Fed policymakers’ attempts to rein in rate-cut expectations

Chicago Fed President said earlier Monday he was “confused” with how the market reacted in the wake of last week’s Fed meeting, adding that Fed members “don’t debate specific policies speculatively about the future.”

Fed President Loretta Mester, meanwhile, also attempted to push back, saying that the Fed’s next policy phase isn’t “when to reduce rates … It’s about how long do we need monetary policy to remain restrictive in order to be assured that inflation is on that sustainable and timely path back to 2%.”

The comments echoed those of New York Fed President John Williams late last week, who stated that policymakers were not “really talking about” interest rate cuts “right now.”

Rate-cut expectations were given a major boost last week after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said last week that the discussion of rate cuts had “come into view.”

Just a month after setting a 2024 target for the S&P 500, {{0|Goldman Sachs upgraded its year-end forecast on the S&P 500 to 5,100, citing the Federal Reserve’s dovish pivot last week, lower consumer prices, and expectations for a decline in real yields.

Apple (NASDAQ:) pauses Apple (NASDAQ:) Watch sales amid patent dispute   

Apple, which closed a record high on Friday, turned lower Monday after the tech giant said it would pause sales of its Apple Watch following a long-running patent dispute with Masimo (NASDAQ:) over the blood oxygen feature on the watches. 

In October, The International Trade Commission upheld a ruling from January that found that the technology used in the Apple Watch to monitor blood-oxygen levels had infringed on two of Masimo’s patents.   

President Joe Biden has until Dec. 25 to veto the ITC’s judgement, which would ban imports of the latest versions of the Apple Watch in the U.S., but Apple said it was “preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand.”

U.S. Steel gains Japanese admire; Adobe abandons Figma deal

United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:) stock soared 26% after Nippon Steel (TYO:) said it would buy its U.S. rival in a deal worth $14.9 billion including debt, months after the steelmaker put itself up for sale.

The Japanese company will pay $55 per share in an all-cash transaction, a 40% premium to U.S. Steel’s Friday closing stock price.

Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:) stock rose 2.5% after the Photoshop and Illustrator maker ended its $20 billion cash-and-stock deal for cloud-based designer platform Figma, citing problems getting approvals from antitrust regulators in the European Union and the UK.

Adobe will now pay a termination fee of $1 billion to Figma.

VF Corporation (NYSE:) plunges after cyber incident, Southwest settles December 2022 travel fiscao

VF Corporation warned that a cyber incident from Dec. 13 would likely make a material dent on performance, sending shares of the apparel company more than 6% lower.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:) stock cut losses to end just below flatline after the carrier agreed to a record-setting $140 million civil penalty over the December 2022 holiday meltdown that led to 16,900 flight cancellations and stranded 2 million passengers.

Energy rises as oil advances amid supply disruptions, Russian plans to deepen crude export curbs

Energy stocks rose nearly 1%, underpinned by jump in after Russia said it would deepen oil exports curb by around 50,000 barrels per day, in December

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:), Diamondback Energy Inc (NASDAQ:), Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:) were among the biggest gainers.

Stoking further crude supply concerns, a number of shipping firms said over the weekend that they would avoid the Suez Canal given the increase in assaults on commercial vessels in the Red Seas by Houthi militants in Yemen.

(Peter Nurse contributed to this report.)

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